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Magnanimous Gift From MacKenzie Scott Bolsters Spelman College’s Strategic Outcomes Share a Spelman College Press Release


Jazmyn Burton
Spelman College
(404) 798-5212
Twitter: @SpelmanMedia

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ATLANTA (July 28, 2020)
Spelman College is among more than 100 non-profit institutions selected to receive a generous gift from novelist and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, the College announced Tuesday. 

"MacKenzie Scott’s gift to 116 organizations breaks new philanthropic ground both in scope and in scale. On behalf of the entire Spelman community, I am honored that Spelman College is among the dozens of institutions who are recipients of her gifts,” said Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D., president of Spelman. “I know that I speak for the entire Spelman community in stating our admiration for all of the areas she has chosen to fund and for the organizations within each area. We share the values her gifts represent."

The College will receive $20 million, which it will allocate toward its strategic plan. 

Now in its fourth year, Spelman's strategic plan was designed to educate global leaders who graduate from with a competitive edge, prepared to become successful innovators and change agents. Funding will also go towards the College’s goal of supporting scholarly and creative excellence by bolstering  its technological infrastructure; developing new sources of revenue; promoting curricular innovations that enhance the competitiveness of Spelman students; and improving academic facilities.
“Driven by a deep belief in the value different backgrounds bring to problem-solving on any issue, we selected for diversity in leadership across all categories of giving, supporting vital variety of perspective and experience in solutions on every cause,” said Scott in her announcement today. “Like many, I watched the first half of 2020 with a mixture of heartbreak and horror. Life will never stop finding fresh ways to expose inequities in our systems; or waking us up to the fact that a civilization this imbalanced is not only unjust, but also unstable. What fills me with hope is the thought of what will come if each of us reflects on what we can offer. Opportunities that flowed from the mere chance of skin color, sexual orientation, gender, or zip code may have yielded resources that can be powerful levers for change.”

Scott has donated close to $1.7 billion in the past year in support of “The Giving Pledge,” launched in 2010 by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and billionaire investor Warren Buffett to encourage the world’s wealthiest people to donate a majority of their wealth over their lifetimes.

“The success of Spelman has transformed our society, launching Black women in STEM, in the arts, as entrepreneurs and in leadership roles across the public and private sectors,” said Dr. Campbell. “These significant new resources will enable Spelman to continue to graduate Black women with a competitive edge to become successful global leaders and social justice change agents in whatever they choose as their life’s work. We are so very grateful.”

About Spelman College

Founded in 1881, Spelman College is a leading liberal arts college widely recognized as the global leader in the education of women of African descent. Located in Atlanta, the College’s picturesque campus is home to 2,100 students. Spelman is the country's leading producer of Black women who complete Ph.D.s in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The College’s status is confirmed by U.S. News and World Report, which ranked Spelman No. 57 among all liberal arts colleges, No. 22 for undergraduate teaching and No. 6 for both innovation and social mobility among liberal arts colleges, and No. 1 for the 13th year among historically Black colleges and universities. The Wall Street Journal ranked the College No. 3, nationally, in terms of student satisfaction. Recent initiatives include a designation by the Department of Defense as a Center of Excellence for Minority Women in STEM, a Gender and Sexuality Studies Institute, the first endowed queer studies chair at an HBCU, and a program to increase the number of Black women Ph.D.s in economics. New majors have been added, including documentary filmmaking and photography, and partnerships have been established with MIT’s Media Lab, the Broad Institute and the Army Research Lab for artificial intelligence and machine learning. Outstanding alumnae include Children’s Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman, Starbucks Group President and COO Rosalind Brewer, political leader Stacey Abrams, former Acting Surgeon General and Spelman’s first alumna president Audrey Forbes Manley, actress and producer Latanya Richardson Jackson, global bioinformatics geneticist Janina Jeff and authors Pearl Cleage and Tayari Jones. For more information, visit




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